L-Theanine: 4 Amazing Benefits, 3 Side Effects, & Dosage Details

There are many nutrients that can benefit your body and improve your health—and you're likely familiar with certain vitamins and minerals like zinc and vitamin C. But did you know that there are also amino acids that are essential to your well-being?

L-theanine is an amino acid often found in green tea and mushrooms that's known to promote relaxation and calm, boost mood, and even improve sleep

It’s so beneficial that I want to share more with you about this health-promoting amino acid, including where to get it and how to take it! So, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about what it is and how it can improve your health!


What is L-Theanine?

Amino acids are an essential part of any healthy diet. Together, they make up proteins that are responsible for several essential functions in your body

Traditionally, there are three kinds of amino acids: non-essential, essential, and conditional.

While your body can produce non-essential amino acids, it can’t make essential amino acids. As a result, you have to consume them as part of your diet.

Conditional amino acids are only needed if you’re sick or experiencing high levels of stress.

L-theanine is a different kind of amino acid, meaning it doesn’t fall into any of the three categories of amino acids listed above. And even though it’s an amino acid, it doesn’t build protein and your body doesn’t necessarily need it for survival

That said, it’s packed with benefits for your body. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.

4 Benefits of L-Theanine

If you’re considering adding more of this amino acid to your diet, studies show that it may help improve your quality of sleep, manage your weight, prevent stress and anxiety, and support your immune system.

Keep reading to learn more about these incredible benefits.

1. Improves sleep

Do you struggle to get good quality sleep? Supplementing your diet with L-theanine may help.

Researchers conducted a double-blind experiment to study its effects on 8 to 12-year-old boys with ADHD. They randomly split the boys into two groups. The control group received a placebo, while the experimental group received 400 mg of L-theanine each day

Results showed that the boys who took L-theanine each day got better sleep than those who didn’t. After falling asleep, they were less likely to wake up during the night. [1]

The takeaway? You may also experience improved sleep quality if you include more L-theanine in your diet—either via natural forms such as green tea and mushrooms or in supplement form!

2. Supports healthy weight management

Did you know that L-theanine and sodium L-glutamate in green tea interact with glutamate receptors to produce an umami flavor? [2]

And while umami flavor is simply delicious (and that's a good enough reason to eat it), it can also help you manage your weight!

Research shows that umami flavor can help curb hunger while also making you feel full. [3] So, if you’re trying to lose weight, drinking more green tea or eating more mushrooms to up your L-theanine intake may help.

3. Fights stress and anxiety

If that weren’t enough, this beneficial amino acid also reduces stress and anxiety!

When you experience stress, your heart rate increases and the amount of immunoglobulin-A (IgA) in your saliva decreases. [4] This can make you more susceptible to illness.

Interestingly, research has shown that people who take L-theanine experience decreasing heart rates. It also keeps their IgA from lowering as much when they are stressed out. [5]

Finally, it may also improve symptoms of anxiety and depression—all of which are great reasons to consider including more L-theanine in your diet on a regular basis. [6]

4. Supports immune health

A healthy immune system can help you fight off all sorts of illnesses, from the common cold to cancer and more. Fortunately, L-theanine can help with this, too!

In a 28-day study, researchers split ducks into five groups with diets containing different amounts of L-theanine: 0 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg, 600 mg/kg, 900 mg/kg, and 1500 mg/kg

They measured the levels of immune system cells and other metabolic markers on days 14 and 28. The ducks whose diets were supplemented with L-theanine experienced increased immunoglobulins, which can help prevent infections. [7]


L-theanine - Dr. Pingel


L-Theanine Side Effects

Taking L-theanine is safe in most cases, but the long-term effects are unknown.

The most common side effects are an upset stomach, diarrhea, and headaches from the caffeine if you drink green tea to increase your L-theanine intake. Also, note that it may not be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women or young children.

As always, you should talk to your preferred healthcare professional about any supplements or dietary changes you're considering. They can help you decide if it’s an appropriate plan for you, based on your unique medical history. 

Dosage for L-Theanine

Simply put, the appropriate dose of L-theanine for you depends on your needs

Studies show efficacy for reducing stress, managing weight, better sleep, and immune system improvements from doses as low as 100 mg to as high as 400 mg. Discuss your goals with a healthcare professional to help you choose the best dosage for you.

If you’re looking to consume L-theanine from its natural sources, note that one cup of green tea has just shy of 8 grams of L-theanine, while black tea contains nearly 25 grams. [8]

If you don’t want to drink multiple cups of tea each day, you can take an L-theanine supplement instead. Make sure to carefully research the brands that are available to choose one that is good quality

This is important because supplements aren’t regulated the same way as medications are, so the quality of each product may vary.


Key Takeaways

6 Stress-Relieving Foods That Reduce Cortisol

While they're the very foods we tend to turn to for comfort, the truth is that high-sugar, high-sodium foods actually stress you out! That's why you should be looking to eat foods that reduce cortisol during times of stress.

Not sure where to start? I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about the top stress-busting foods and how they work! Let’s get started!

What is Cortisol?

Simply put, cortisol is a hormone that is released from your adrenal glands to divert your body into a sympathetic “fight-or-flight” state.

This release is your body’s response to encountering stress—whether it’s emotional or mental stress or even physical stress, such as having a disease or illness.

Cortisol has a significant impact on how your body converts fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy. It also regulates blood pressure and cardiovascular function and is responsible for assisting you when you need energy from glucose.

But its main job is to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

The release of cortisol is intended to be highest in the morning and slowly decrease throughout the day, eventually rising right before you wake from sleep.

If you are surrounding yourself with constant stimuli (such as the constant pinging of your smartphone), your cortisol rhythm will change course, resulting in higher-than-normal levels in the evening hours.

This often impacts your ability to fall asleep and will jolt you awake in the middle of the night (often between 1 and 3 a.m.), and make you unable to fall back asleep easily.

As you can see, it’s vital for your health to manage and support your cortisol levels so that they don’t become chronically high.

The Benefits of Cortisol-Lowering Foods

So, now let’s take a look at how eating foods that reduce cortisol can help you support your overall health.

Mainly, too much cortisol in your body can push you into the throes of adrenal fatigue. And depending on your level of adrenal fatigue, you can experience a myriad of symptoms, including:

Plus, too much cortisol can contribute to high blood pressure, moodiness, and ever certain chronic illnesses such as diabetes and even autoimmune diseases.

Eating foods that reduce cortisol can help you avoid all the above-listed symptoms and outcomes. Plus, because high cortisol levels can suppress your immune system eating cortisol-lowering foods can help to reduce inflammation and support your body’s ability to heal and fight off illnesses. [1]

Now that you know how eating foods that reduce cortisol can help to support your overall health, let’s discuss some of the specific cortisol-lowering foods you should be consuming on a regular basis.

6 Foods That Reduce Cortisol

Here are six of the top foods that reduce cortisol.

1. Avocados

One of my absolute favorite foods is also known for being one of the best foods that reduce cortisol by supporting your body’s ability to manage stress and anxiety.

As I’ve discussed previously, I believe that chronic stress is the root of many of our major health concerns today. Fortunately, avocado is a great natural source of B vitamins, which are known to help combat both stress and anxiety.

So, how do the B vitamins in avocados help to lower cortisol? A 2010 study on 215 healthy men revealed that B vitamins helped decrease their stress levels, and a 2014 study showed that consuming B vitamins helped reduce workplace stress by 20 percent! [2, 3]

2. Berries

Berries also top the list of foods that reduce cortisol. Here’s how they work ….

Oxidative stress has been shown to decrease as a faster rate by consuming blueberries! [4] And because oxidative stress is linked to so many serious diseases, this is a huge benefit! Plus, the same holds true for strawberries! [5]

Additionally, a 2013 study found that the flavonoids found in blueberries can help to moderate anxiety and even provide anti-depressant effects. [6]

3. Leafy Greens

Did you know that leafy greens help to support your body’s stress response? It’s true!

Basically, leafy greens are rich in vitamin C, which is known to help slow your body’s production of cortisol! [7]

In fact, studies have shown that consuming vitamin c can help to reduce the amount of circulating cortisol in your body after a stressful experience. [8]

4. Pumpkin seeds

Another one of the top foods that reduce cortisol is pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a trace mineral most commonly known for its ability to help prevent and fight colds. But did you know that zinc also has a powerful effect on cortisol?

Studies have shown that consuming zinc can temporarily inhibit your adrenal glands’ ability to secrete cortisol, thereby supporting your body’s stress ability to manage stress. [9]

5. Walnuts

You know that walnuts are good for your brain, but you may be surprised to learn they’re also one of the foods that reduce cortisol.

According to a 2021 study, people who consumed 15 grams of walnuts each day for six weeks had lower cortisol levels that those who didn’t. [10]

Meanwhile, additional studies have shown that consuming walnuts on a regular basis can help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress. [11]

6. Wild rice or quinoa

Finally, both wild rice and quinoa are rich in the mineral manganese, and here’s why that’s important: Manganese is known to help support your body’s stress response.

In fact, research has shown that people with lower cortisol levels typically consume more manganese and linoleic acid, both of which are abundant in these grains. [12]

Learning to use quinoa can be a little tricky if you’re making it for the first time, so consider giving my Blueberry Vanilla Quinoa Bowl for a fun spin on traditional oatmeal.


Foods that reduce cortisol - Dr. Pingel


For more foods that can help to reduce your cortisol levels and support your body’s stress response to stress, check out my article on adrenal fatigue.

Addison’s Disease (Adrenal Insufficiency): Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

While it's considered to be relatively rare, Addison's disease is also known as adrenal insufficiency and is a condition in which your adrenal glands can no longer produce sufficient hormones for your body.

But how does it differ from adrenal fatigue, and are there things you can do to prevent this worsening disorder? Can you live a normal life with it? And, finally, can it be improved and/or cured?

Keep reading to get the answers to these questions and more as we dive into the topic of Addison's disease.


What is Addison’s Disease?

As I mentioned above, Addison’s disease is a condition in which your adrenal glands are unable to produce the hormones your body needs to function properly—specifically cortisol and aldosterone in some situations as well. It’s also commonly known as adrenal insufficiency or adrenal disease.

Because it affects approximately 100 to 140 out of every 1 million people, Addison’s disease is considered to be relatively rare. [1]

That said, recent data has shown that it is on the rise, with an increase of 1.8 percent in prevalence each year. Interestingly, the rate is increasing much faster for females at a rate of 2.7 percent each year. [2]

One of the most common questions I receive about Addison’s disease is this: Is adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease the same as adrenal fatigue?

In short, the answer is no. Addison’s disease is just that—a disease in which your adrenal glands are incapable of producing cortisol.

Conversely, adrenal fatigue is a functional situation, meaning your adrenal glands are capable of producing cortisol but are overtaxed and, as the name suggests, fatigued.

Symptoms of Addison’s Disease

Now that you have a basic understanding of what Addison’s disease is, let’s address what really brought you here: Could you have Addison's disease?

Here are the top eight signs you may have it:

  1. Extreme fatigue
  2. Unexplained weight loss
  3. Decreased appetite
  4. Low blood pressure and/or blood sugar
  5. GI upset
  6. Irritability and/or depression
  7. Hair loss
  8. Low libido

Addison's disease - Dr. Pingel


Causes of Addison’s Disease

Unlike adrenal fatigue, which is caused by stress and lifestyle factors, Addison’s disease is mainly caused by autoimmunity. In fact, autoimmune disease accounts for up to 90 percent of all diagnoses of Addison’s disease. [3]

Other causes include:

Diagnosing Addison’s Disease

Now that you know the most common symptoms and causes, let’s discuss how Addison’s disease is diagnosed.

In addition to performing a physical exam and discussing your history, the following methods are used to help diagnose Addison’s disease:


Treatments for Addison’s Disease

If you discover that you have Addison’s disease, know that there are treatment options available to you.

Your physician may prescribe synthetic hormones (known as hormone replacement therapy) to make up for your body’s lack of cortisol (hydrocortisone) or aldosterone (fludrocortisone acetate).

In addition, there are certain lifestyle measures you need to take, such as supporting your body’s stress response, eating a balanced diet, and making sure you’re consuming enough sodium.

Just remember that you can live a normal, active, and full life with the proper measures in place.


Key Takeaways

6 Tulsi (Holy Basil) Benefits + Side Effects & Dosage

Let's talk about an herb that isn't covered quite as often as others yet still offers some incredible health benefits: tulsi, or holy basil.

Used frequently in Ayurvedic medicine, it has many properties that can help you feel more relaxed and calmer by addressing your body’s ability to respond to stress. [1]

It also fights harmful inflammation and infections while even supporting healthy cholesterol levels and brain health!

Want to learn more? Let’s dive in!


The Top 6 Health Benefits of Holy Basil

Here are some of the top benefits of holy basil.

1. Relieves stress and anxiety

Many people cope with stress and anxiety every day of their lives. And while some help reduce their levels of stress and anxiety through exercise and meditation, there are other things you can do as well.

Holy basil is a proven natural remedy for both stress and anxiety that you can also consider!

Researchers studied the effect of holy basil on male albino rats. There were six groups of rats. One was the control group, and the other five experienced restraint-induced stress and anxiety.

Four of the groups went on to participate in activities like mazes and forced swimming so researchers could observe and measure their levels of anxiety and stress. Some rats consumed holy basil to see if it helped reduce stress and anxiety. [2]

Study results showed that holy basil reduced the rats’ stress and anxiety responses, significantly improving their performance in the activities

Similarly, holy basil may help reduce stress and anxiety for people who consume it through supplementation or a healthy diet.

2. Reduces inflammation

Holy basil also has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a good source of several anti-inflammatory compounds: eugenol, cirsilineol, cirsimaritin, apigenin, and rosmarinic acid.

Interestingly, all of these compounds reduce inflammation by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2, which is also linked to cancer. [3] And, amazingly, studies show that the anti-inflammatory benefits of holy basil match that of ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin! [4]

3. Fights infection

You can also treat or prevent a wide variety of infections with holy basil! Its antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties are well documented, with holy basil being shown to help treat staph and pseudomonas infections, as well as drug-resistant salmonella and gonorrhea. [5, 6, 7]

Holy basil also kills other types of bacteria. Scientists studied the effect of holy basil oil on mice with pneumonia-causing bacteria.

During the experiment, some mice consumed clove oil, while others had holy basil oil. While clove oil killed the pneumonia bacteria in the short term, tulsi oil reduced bacteria levels the most with long-term feeding. [8]

By prevent the bacteria from colonizing in the rats’ lungs, holy basil prevented them from getting sick from the bacteria that was already present. This same mechanism may help prevent or treat pneumonia in people!

4. Supports healthy cholesterol levels

We’ve discussed previously that high cholesterol can lead to many different heart and vascular health issues. But did you know that holy basil can help lower cholesterol to mitigate and reverse these effects?

In one study, scientists measured the effect of holy basil on the cholesterol levels in mice. They split the mice into three groups, and the control group ate a regular diet while the second group ate a high cholesterol diet for seven weeks.

While the third group ate a high cholesterol diet during that time as well, they were also fed holy basil during the last three weeks of the experiment. [9]

Researchers found that holy basil protected the rats from high cholesterol-induced heart and liver damage. It also reduced the cholesterol levels in their heart and liver tissues, as well and their bloodstreams.

So, if you have high cholesterol, adding holy basil to your routine may help you reach a normal range!

5. Supports healthy blood sugar levels

Did you know that holy basil can also reduce blood sugar levels?

Diabetic rats that consumed holy basil powder for a month experienced a significant drop in their fasting blood sugar levels. In fact, they were within normal range after just a month of holy basil supplementation! [10]

This suggests that adding holy basil to your diet may help you gain more control over your blood sugar.

6. May ease Alzheimer’s symptoms

There are 6.2 million people with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. as of 2021. And the burden of this disease exceeds $500 billion in paid and unpaid care, as well as over 15 billion hours spent providing that care each year. [11]

As a result, treatments to prevent or manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are a public health priority. Well, it turns out that holy basil may be a key player in this effort!

Researchers induced Alzheimer’s disease in male Wistar albino rats. They then gave the rats holy basil extract, Levetiracetam, or a combination of the two to measure their effects on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

While all three treatments improved memory, the holy basil extract by itself and combined with Levetiracetam also improved the physical condition of the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. [12]

This suggests that holy basil may even be able to reverse some of the damage to the structures of the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists need to conduct more studies, but it seems like holy basil has the potential to prevent or improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease!

Holy basil - Dr. Pingel


Holy Basil Side Effects and Dosage

You may be wondering what dose of holy basil you should take to experience some of its health benefits, and if there are any adverse side effects.

According to a meta-analysis of the effects of holy basil on humans, safe doses ranged between 300 mg to 3,000 mg each day.

The analysis included 24 studies that measured the effect of holy basil on blood sugar, cholesterol, immune response, and more. All of these studies concluded that holy basil is safe for human consumption. [13]

Additionally, there weren’t many side effects reported in most of the studies. One indicated that 250 mg capsules of holy basil twice a day may induce nausea. But, other than that, none of the studies noted any adverse effects of holy basilconsumption.

If you’re looking for a food-based addition to your current routine that can help regulate blood sugar, cholesterol, and many other health concerns, you still might want to consider holy basil.

It isn’t a replacement for any medical interventions your doctor prescribed, but it may help improve your outcomes. Discuss it with your doctor to see if holy basil supplementation is a healthy addition to your diet!

Key Takeaways

8 Foods That Reduce Pain (+ What Foods To Avoid)

Living with chronic pain but want to avoid prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers and their unwanted side effects? Well, there’s one natural remedy for pain that many people aren’t aware of: There are several foods that reduce pain—and these benefits are backed by years of science!

The truth of the matter is that living with chronic pain is challenging. Fortunately, there are many natural pain remedies available to you. From deep breathing to exercise, there are several options that may help, depending on the source of your pain.

But today we’re going to focus on the little-known area of foods that reduce pain and take a look at which foods are proven most effective by research. And then I’ll share the top six pain-causing foods to avoid.

You don’t have to live with chronic pain, so let’s dive in so you know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating for pain relief!


The Top 8 Foods That Reduce Pain

Here are eight of my favorite foods that reduce pain, along with some creative suggestions on how to use them.

1. Ginger

The aromatic and flavorful properties of ginger can bring your cooking to the next level. But that’s not all—it also one of the foods that reduce pain.

In a 2018 study, researchers compared the pain-relieving properties of ginger to Novafen (which contains acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and caffeine).

They split a group of women aged 18 through 26 into two groups. One group received 200 mg of Novafen at the onset of menstrual cramps, while the other received 200 mg of ginger.

Study participants self-reported decreased pain from both Novafen and ginger. As a result of ginger’s effectiveness, the researchers concluded that the primary treatment for menstrual cramps should be herbal therapy. [1]

As you can see, ginger is an effective pain reliever that you may want to keep on hand. In fact, you can put its pain-relieving benefits to the test with my Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot recipe!

2. Garlic

I don’t think you can add too much garlic to anything! It’s a nutrient-packed addition to just about any delicious meal … and it’s also one of the foods that reduce pain!

So, how effective is it

Studies show that consuming 1,000 mg of garlic tablets reduced knee pain among overweight and obese women. [2]

This is most likely due to decreased levels of resistin, an adipocytokine (a bioactive product produced by adipose tissue) that promotes inflammation in the body.

You can put garlic in almost any dish, but one way I like to make sure I get it on a regular basis is by infusing it in olive oil. You can get that recipe here.

3. Cherries

Cherry pie, a sundae with cherries on top, and fresh cherries as a healthy snack are all so sweet and delicious! But in addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, they may also help you out if you're experiencing pain.

That’s right—cherries are known to be one of the foods that reduce pain!

Evidence shows that tart cherry juice reduces pain in athletes. Not only that, but it also decreases the amount of inflammation and oxidative stress markers in your blood. And if you exercise, tart cherry juice can also help you recover more quickly! [3]

When you plan to consume cherries, just remember to try to limit inflammation-producing sugar you’re eating with them. For example, instead of indulging in a dairy-based milkshake, try adding a cherry to my Healthy Shamrock Shake!

4. Turmeric

Did you know that people have used turmeric to treat pain from arthritis for centuries? It’s among the foods that reduce pain due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in its high levels of curcumin. [4]

In fact, a 2017 study of 36 people with rheumatoid arthritis revealed that those who took curcumin for 90 days reported improvements in their joint pain compared with those who took a placebo. [5]

Turmeric also has positive effects on type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia, as well as other conditions.

If you’re looking for easy, delicious ways to incorporate more turmeric in your diet, try out my Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte and Sweet Potato Curry recipes!

5. Hot Peppers

If you love spicy foods, it turns out you may be onto something! The capsaicin in hot peppers such as cayenne and jalapeños make them some of the best foods that reduce pain.

The analgesic effects of capsaicin are so widely accepted that there are actually clinical treatments that use synthetic capsaicin for pain relief. They come in the form of transdermal patches and injections that can relieve pain for a whole day! [6]

Keep in mind that since these compounds are responsible for spiciness in your food, they usually cause burning at first before pain relief sets in.

If you’re looking for a way to add more hot peppers to your diet, consider trying my Savory Immune-Boosting Soup, which also features a few other foods that reduce pain!

6. Leafy Green Vegetables

If you think back to your childhood, I bet you can remember your parents telling you to eat your greens so you could grow big and strong. Now, you can eat them to help relieve pain from headaches and migraines, too!

In a 2021 case report, doctors reported studying the case of a 60-year-old man with frequent migraines who didn’t get relief from any traditional treatments.

He suffered from up to 24 headaches a month for over 12 years. When everything else failed, his doctor prescribed a plant-based diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables. [7]

Within three months, he stopped taking medication to prevent his debilitating migraines because they were gone!

If your pain stems from migraines, you may want to give a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables a try. If you need some tips, check out my article on 12 Easy Ways to Eat More Greens.

7. Blueberries

Looking for a versatile ingredient that’s great for almost any meal or snack? Blueberries fit the bill!

These small fruits are great in salads, pancakes, and desserts. Plus, it just so happens that they are among foods that reduce pain!

How effective are they?

A 2019 double-blind clinical trial studied the effects of blueberries on symptomatic osteoarthritis in the knee. The experimental group consumed 40 mg of freeze-dried whole blueberry powder every day for four months, while the control group received a placebo. [8]

Participants in the blueberry group reported decreased pain and stiffness along with improved mobility and quality of life.

Accordingly, you may want to try incorporating more blueberries into your diet if you’re experiencing pain.

For a fun way to enjoy blueberries, check out my recipe for No-Bake Mini Cheesecake Bites with Blueberries.

8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I don’t know about you, but I use extra virgin oil very frequently. It’s great for searing steaks, sautéing vegetables, and it’s a key ingredient for many salad dressings.

But did you know it’s also one of the foods that reduce pain? And you probably already have it in your kitchen!

Here’s what the research has to say: A study measured the pain-reducing properties of extra virgin olive oil among Iranian women with rheumatoid arthritis in their hands and knees.

Researchers separated the women into five groups, which all received different treatment interventions. Three groups rubbed extra virgin olive oil, paraffin oil, and piroxicam gel on the affected areas. Another group used dry massages, and the final group used routine medications. [9]

Surprisingly, all five interventions successfully reduced pain and other symptoms among the women. Given the availability and affordability of extra virgin olive oil, the researchers concluded that it was the preferred treatment method to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis.


Foods that reduce pain - Dr. Pingel


6 Pain-Causing Foods To Avoid

Incorporating foods that reduce pain into your diet is easy, but it’s just as important to avoid foods that cause pain, too!

Foods that cause inflammation are common culprits for pain. Many times, foods that are high in sugar and fat or are highly processed are to blame. Avoiding sweets, fast food, and fatty meats can help reduce your pain

If you’re sensitive to gluten, that may also be causing you pain. Discuss it with your doctor if you notice you’re experiencing pain after eating meals that include pasta, bread, crackers, or other foods with gluten. They can test you for celiac disease and other conditions that cause adverse reactions to gluten.


Key Takeaways

6 Immune Boosters: Supplements & Lifestyle Changes

Many of us are back into our offices and have resumed contact with friends and extended family, making now is the perfect time to learn about natural immune boosters.

From lifestyle tips to my most recommended supplements, keep reading to learn all about how to strengthen your immune system naturally in the days ahead.


6 Great All-Natural Immune Boosters

Here are a few of my most recommended immune boosters

1. Get plenty of sleep.

As we’ve discussed before, sleep is critical for optimal health because your body repairs itself and strengthens your immune system during REM sleep

In fact, according to one study following 153 people who came into contact with rhinovirus, those who slept less than seven hours at night were 2.94 times more likely to develop a cold compared to those who slept eight hours or more. [1]

Additionally, those with lower quality sleep were 5.5 times more likely to develop a cold than those who experienced high-quality sleep.

The researchers concluded that poor sleep quality and duration prior to rhinovirus exposure were associated with lower resistance to the illness

If you need some tips for getting a solid night of restful sleep, check out my article on how to beat insomnia.

2. Take a multi-mineral.

While it’s likely that you’ve heard that multivitamins are great immune boosters, you may be surprised to learn that it’s actually a multi-mineral you need.

You see, there are several minerals that have been shown to help support the immune system. Minerals you should look for in a solid multi-mineral include selenium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium.

So, why these minerals? Let’s take a look at what the research has to say about a few of these minerals.

While it’s long been known in the scientific and medical communities that having adequate selenium levels are crucial for maintaining optimal immunity, studies have shown that selenium positively impacts the barriers to infection in the immune system, while a selenium deficiency impairs their function. [2]

Specifically, selenium has been shown to strengthen the body’s epithelial barriers, which help stop invasive bacteria from entering the body.

Additionally, studies have shown that being deficient in selenium results in greater lung problems in those with the flu than in those who have adequate amounts of selenium in their bodies! [3]

Another mineral well-researched for its ability to help serve as an immune booster is magnesium. Here’s why: It has more than 800 different essential roles within your body, making it necessary for many bodily processes, including regulating blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, building proteins, and supporting the immune system.

It’s also a co-factor in over 300 enzymes—which means that it is essential for making those enzymes work properly. Basically, any process that requires energy requires magnesium.

Magnesium also helps transport potassium, calcium, and sodium into and out of your cells, which helps to maintain proper electrolyte balance.

If you’re looking for a well-sourced multi-mineral, check out my Total Mineral here.

3. Take zinc.

One of the best ways to support your immune system is by taking zinc. And while zinc is often included in a great multi-mineral, you may find that you need a bit more and should consider a zinc supplement as well.

So, what does the research have to say?

According to a 2011 study, using a minimum of 75 mg each day of zinc lozenges reduced cold duration by up to 42 percent! [4]

Why is it so effective?

According to a 2010 study, zinc activates your body’s T-cells, which are known to not only stimulate and moderate your immune system but also help attack invaders (such as viruses, bacteria, and even cancerous cells). [5]

Now, there are a lot of zinc products on the market—and some are more bioavailable than others. To get a rundown of which you should consider, and which to avoid, click here.

And if you want to take out the guesswork completely, head over to Total Heath Apothecary and check out my Total Zinc.

4. Reduce everyday stress.

We’ve previously discussed how stress can make you sick.

Basically, when you’re in a state of stress, your immune system loses its ability to fight off bacteria and viruses effectively—leaving you more vulnerable to illness.

In fact, study published in June 2020 revealed that patients with positive COVID tests who had the highest cortisol levels (indicating greater stress) had a significantly higher risk of mortality than those with lower cortisol levels.

How much higher? The patients whose cortisol concentration doubled were 42 percent more likely to die from COVID-19! [6]

Other research published in May 2021 revealed that stress can cause you to make poor lifestyle choices, which can accelerate the aging process of your T-cells (cells critical for proper immune function), explaining this connection. [7]

So, what are you supposed to do? After all, we can’t just eliminate stress from our lives.

I’ve found that supporting your adrenal health is the single best way to help boost your body’s ability to handle stress and, in turn, makes the list as one of my top immune boosters. Click here to learn more about supporting your adrenal health and preparing your body to handle any stress that comes your way.

5. Consume probiotics.

There’s one supplement I recommend to all of my patients: a good probiotic. You see, in order to have great immune health, you must have great gut health. And probiotics have been shown to do just that.

In fact, studies have shown that taking probiotics during a viral infection can actually shorten the duration of the illness and even lessen symptom severity by up to 34 percent. [8]

I find that a minimum of 20 billion CFU probiotics is great for maintenance while 100 billion CFUs help the most when fighting off or preventing an illness.

If you’re looking for a well-sourced probiotic you can trust, check out my Total Probiotic, which I take myself!

6. Take a B complex.

Finally, one of the last immune boosters I want to highlight is to take a vitamin B complex. Here’s why …

When you’re experiencing more stress, your body burns through more B vitamins. And because vitamin B is required for every metabolic process in your body, from your ability to break down your food to your energy production to even your mood, this can become a real problem.

Not only are B vitamins essential for supporting your body’s stress response, but they’ve also been recently found to play a role in immune regulation. [9]

If you’re in search of a solid vitamin B complex, check out my Total B Complex here, which is great for supporting cardiovascular and mental health, a healthy nervous system, regulating gene expression, proper energy metabolism, and immune and nerve cell function.


Immune boosters - Dr. Pingel


Key Takeaways